Back to School Shopping

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

I both look forward and loathe this time of year. 

The monsters are back to school in two weeks.  I needed to pick up three sets of different school supplies, plus restock clothes, tennis shoes, and underwear.  I can’t shop at one clothing store any more, because Princess is in adult sizes (she’s taller than I am and wears my size or larger shoes).

First, we hit Sears and used That Man’s employee discount to save a fortune on tennis shoes and clothes for the two youngest monsters.  Then we hit Kohls where I used $12 store credit + 15% coupon + existing sales to save MORE than I spent for Princess.  She picked out some super cute shirts that I’m so envious of — I can’t wait until I can wear cute clothes again.

Then, the worst stop:  Wal-Mart.  I can’t believe how many supplies the kids need, everything from 4 sets of crayons to wet wipes to Expo markers to Ziplock bags.  It’s crazy.  I have at least 4 bags of supplies to sort through and bag for each kid. 

I must admit that I always buy myself some supplies, like Sharpies and paper folders for story ideas.  They never last long – because the monsters always raid my hidden stash.  But I can’t resist the cheap folders and cool notebooks and brand-new pens.

Even better than the scent of fresh school supplies is knowing that very soon we won’t be running kids here and there to camps, Vacation Bible School, trips to grandma’s (tomorrow we’re taking Princess and her cousin over to the lake for the week)…but we’ll be getting them up early and taking them to the bus, forgetting which kid has spelling tests on which day, and freaking out because I forgot to help Middle study or Littlest can’t find her library books or…

P.S. I bought a dry-erase calendar to hopefully help keep track of all the library and PE days, events, clubs, etc. 

Let the school days begin!

RBW: Lies My Scale Told Me

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

I’m over at the Romance Biggest Winner blog today talking about Lies My Scale Told Me:

“Aw, you worked so hard this week.  You even exercised!  Yet you’re up .x pounds.  It’s sad to be sooooo good and not be rewarded.  Maybe you should have some chocolate.”

Wrong! Stop over and let me know how you deal with that kind of self-sabotage!

Writing When You Can’t Write

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

Since last Friday, I’ve had very little brain power.  The doctors said my O2 levels were decreased but good — otherwise they would have definitely hospitalized me this week.  I don’t know if it was simply the fever burning out my brain cells or if my body instinctively knew it needed to conserve itself, but I just haven’t been able to THINK.

No Big Fish Games.  No reading and very little hand crafts because my eyes hurt too much from the fever.  I tried to make some crocheted slippers for my SIL’s sister, and I’m ashamed to say how many pairs I had to make before I finally got a set that I thought would fit her.  (The fourth pair fit.)

I didn’t even try to open my laptop for days.  I knew it was useless.

So how does one occupy the mind of a writer for an entire week when actual WRITING is out of the question?

When I was sick, I obviously didn’t even try.  But as I started to recover these past two days, I’ve felt the beginning of the desire to work again.  It’s still too early — just as it’s too early for my stomach to handle coffee again (I’ve tried twice but it just hasn’t tasted right yet).  I wanted to come up with another series to begin building after the current slate of work is done.  This kind of work is fun and engrossing, a danger when I’m trying to draft new words (because it’s distracting), but ideal for when I don’t feel like I can string words together in a coherent manner.

I pulled out a brand new colorful notebook that made me feel good and just started writing down words I like.  Just a word association game.  In the back of my mind, I knew the basic genre I wanted to shoot for.  My goal is to write something that further cements my ongoing brand that I’m working harder to build.

That led me to some interesting elements I hadn’t thought of yet.  While I was pulling together information for my website header — mostly links to images that inspired me in some way — I found that I really enjoy Venetian carnival masks.  Hmmm.  How can I use them?  What would that mean?

I’m finally able to do a little online reading without my eyes complaining too much, so I allowed just a bit of research.  Mostly, though, I just jotted loose ideas on paper.  I don’t have much of anything but the itch in the back of my brain that swears the idea is just beneath the surface, almost ready for me to chisel out into an intriguing book.

I hope.  ;-)

Soon I ought to be able to string words together again, but in the meantime, this has been a fun exercise I usually don’t allow myself to dwell on too long because I’m too busy.

What do you do when you can’t write?

RBW Week 2

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

Romance Biggest Winner

So I came into the second week not feeling the best if you’ve been reading for the last few days.  That helped push me into a little better numbers than usual.  Unfortunately, I’m now seriously behind on all my exercise goals for the month, but there’s nothing I can do about that.  I can’t walk to the bathroom without getting winded.  I’m certainly not going to be doing Power 90 for a few days!!

All in all, I was able to report a .94% total loss.  Not too shabby.

I can’t report any new healthy recipes I tried since I haven’t had much of an appetite for days.  While sick, one of the best things I had regularly was the Weight Watcher Chocolate Smoothie — made with hot water.  It tasted like hot cocoa and was very soothing on my tummy, plus provided a nice balance of nutrition (counts as a serving of dairy even though I made it with water).  I figured it was better than nibbling on crackers!

Review: Lady Doctor Wyre

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

Ashia of The Romance Reviews names Lady Doctor Wyre a TRR Top Pick!

The worldbuilding is impressive and just incredible! It was so real it felt I was there, and the author lets the reader into her world and experience it without info dumping. …  I love this book, and I’m looking forward to the next one in the series.

Thank you so much, Ashia!

Pneumonia in July

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

Not as fun as Christmas in July, let me tell you.

I’ve been sick since Wed. night/Thursday last week.  I just got a little bit worse day by day, but I didn’t realize exactly how “bad” I was feeling.  It just sort of snuck up on me, or maybe I just didn’t want to think about it.  I was really slow mentally and physically all day Friday.  My brain was in neutral and I struggled all day at work.  I had to run an errand at lunch and it wiped me out.  I struggled through the rest of the day and didn’t feel at all well Friday night.

Sat. was the worst.  My fever got up to 103.3 F.  I woke up absolutely disgustingly drenched in sweat, so bad we had to strip the bed and wash everything.  Yet within an hour or two, the fever came roaring back.  102+ plus all weekend. 

My back kept hurting.  Mostly my left side.  I couldn’t get comfortable.  Sunday night, I made my way downstairs to call in sick at work, and I was shocked when I could hardly rattle off the voicemail speel I’ve been using for 16 years now.  I didn’t have enough air.

I hoped Monday I was getting a little better because my fever stayed in the 101-102 range and I was actually able to eat dinner with the family (yes, That Man COOKED a delicious BBQ meatball dinner!), but my back was just KILLING me.  And the shortness of breath just got worse and worse.  Monday night when I went downstairs to call in again, I could barely make it back up.  I sat in my chair panting, short, painful gasping breaths that really scared me. 

If I was a smart person, I would have had my husband take me to the ER that night, because I couldn’t sleep.  I was too uncomfortable, coughed too much, and felt like I was panting most of the night.  But with 3 children, it’s hard to justify dragging them up out of bed to wait for hours and hours at the ER with many other sick people.  So I waited to go to our local urgent care this morning as soon as they opened.

He didn’t need xrays to know I had pneumonia.  He just wanted to see how BAD it was.  But he was very worried about me, which scared the hell out of me.  My left side is the worst.  That pain I felt in my back?  Was actually my LUNG hurting.  Standing for the xrays wore me out so badly that I fought to keep from fainting, because I was scared he’d admit me on the spot, and I really didn’t want to go to the hospital.  Once back in the room, I laid down, and immediately rolled over to the floor so I could throw up in the trash can.  Ugh. 

Needless to say, he sent me to the ER for further evaluation.  He really seemed to suspect they’d hospitalize me for a few days.  Luckily, some hefty iv antibiotics and two bags of fluid were enough to convince the ER doctor to let me come home.  WHEW.  However, I have an inhaler and more oral antibiotics to take this week, so hopefully *prays* I am on the mend.

It is just wrong on so many levels to have pneumonia in July, with a crazy heatwave outside.  While I sit here shuddering under a blanket.

I tried coffee for the first time today since Friday and it didn’t taste good yet. :-(   But hopefully it will taste good again in a few days.

So my apologies for delays in responding to people.  I know I’ve had a few requests for RTCs lately and I’ll try to get them out as soon as possible.  I also have a lovely review for Lady Doctor Wyre to post.  As soon as I muster up the energy…

Middle Monster’s Plague

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

Over the 4th of July weekend, Middle missed several outings with her friend because she was sick with fever, cough, and aches/pains.  She had a fever about 3 days, but she’s always been hit “hard” by anything like that.  (Which is why she had 3 minor surgergies before Kindergarten)

I thought we all escaped without getting it, until I started coughing Thursday.  Friday I barely had the energy to climb up and down the stairs to work, but I pushed through the day and got as much done as possible (nowhere near my normal daily production level).  Meanwhile, I kept waking up in the middle of the night with horrible sweats.  I almost thought I was having hot flashes already!  They were horrible.  And oh, the aches.

Of course I couldn’t find the thermometer – one of the monsters ran off with it.  I woke up this morning aching all over again.  I’d been trying to blame it partially on our bed (it needs to be replaced), new pillows I’d just bought, and working out more, so my muscles were just sore.  But this morning, I could hardly stumble into the bathroom because I was shaking so hard, which hurt everything.

That Man called in to work so he could take care of the kids.  Of course I need to do the grocery shopping, so we hardly have any food in the house.  I ate a little bit and felt enough better (with a hefty dose of Motrin) to make it to Target so I could pick up cough drops, yet another thermometer, and several cans of soup.

I almost wish I didn’t know for sure that I have a fever.  Because knowing it’s 101 and still climbing makes me feel worse.  At this rate, I hope I’m better for work Monday morning!

Website Updates

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

This weekend I’ll be updating my template and installing a new header made by Book Graphics!  Just in case things go a bit wonky…  I’ll be changing the navigation, etc. so be patient.  Hopefully it’ll be fairly seamless and painless.

RBW Week 1

Originally published at Joely Sue Burkhart. Please leave any comments there.

The Romance Biggest Winner

Well, today was our first weigh in.  I feel sorry for my team because they’re a little handicapped by having a member who’s already been dieting for six months.  No huge loss for me this week but I did lose *some* (whew, I was up a little yesterday and was really worried).  They need not fear that my little .23% loss will win the grand prize, but hopefully I’ll be consistent and steady!

I completed another Power 90 session today.  Pushups are getting a little easier.  I should have done it yesterday, but a short story clobbered me upside the head yesterday and instead of using my lunch to workout, I wrote instead.  *sheepish*  I’m a little behind on walking so I need to hit a couple of miles tomorrow.

My new recipe try today:  mashed sweet potato with Greek yogurt.  This is a huge step for me because I don’t really *like* sweet potatoes much.  Not even my mom can get me to eat her sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving.  But lately, I’ve been enjoying roasted sweet potatoes, so I decided to try it.  I went savory with chili powder and garlic instead of sugar and cinnamon as the recipe called for, and it was good.  Not yummy, OMG you have to try this, but good.  I’ll try it again.